Friday, May 27, 2011

Mix-IT, my own retrospective

Two months ago, Mix-IT took place in Lyon, and our team (JUG Lyon +CARA) will soon give some feedback about this event.
For my part, I learned a lot. Below are a few points that I want to share with you.

Context
The idea of a conference in Lyon was initiated by JUG Lyon, and then they proposed that we (Lyon Club Agile Rhône-Alpes) co-organise it with them.
For me, Agile Grenoble is the main Agile conference in this region and organising a similar event would be pointless.
Therefore, a combination of Agile content with technical knowledge was a clever way to not tread on anyone’s toes.

Self-organised team
We talk a lot about self-organised teams in the Agile world, but most of the time someone defines the scope of the work. To be fair, Agnes’s (JUG + Jduchess) expertise in event organisation really, made the difference, because she really made sure everything was covered.
For the first time in my life, I saw a group of people in which ideas were generated every day, and were collectively agreed on or dropped without upset.
Then, the ideas were transformed into tasks, and without any pressure people proposed themselves to handle them.

I will really remember the feeling of beeing in a engaged self-organised team. No annoying boss, only pleasure and effectiveness.

Connected. Always
That’s really funny because when I started blogging in 2005, I felt like getting myself up to date - I was in the Internet mood!
6 years later, nobody talks about the Internet as a tool in itself anymore, people are just always connected.
During these conversations, I really understood how common and natural is the use of collaborative Internet tools by young aware people is. Also, for the first time, I really understood the need to avoid the overload of messages. Yes, I confess, I have been a big spammer myself. Collaborative tools are burning out our capacity to work, they need to be used with simple but shared rules. Defined tasks must be agreed upon and the review process must be planned between the co-workers. Others exchanges during the tasks’ progress must be minimised or non-existent.

Collaboration systems and meetings
We tried several collaborative tools and physical meeting places. The conclusion will make you laugh, but we have really been efficient in a Belgian beer bar.

Defer commitment
This expression comes from lean principles and is really a key concept. We never tried to really decide about something if it was vague. It appears that the decision matured in our minds and one day, on time, it was ready. Consequently, we never wasted time during our meetings.

Adapt the rate to the context
From the beginning we all agreed on two main goals: affordable and good quality knowledge.
I really thank the team and the speakers for the quality of the contents. Affordable in this case means: entry could be paid by local people from their pocket money. This is probably different for a conference for experts, but in this case, it was appreciated.

Anyway, the great feeling I have, is to have produced a valuable event with one of the best teams I have ever met.
Thanks guys.

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